Legal Industry

Cooley lures Nelson Mullins life sciences patent team in Boston

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Signage on the exterior of the building where law firm Cooley LLP is located in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., August 17, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

(Reuters) - Cooley is continuing its life sciences hiring spree, announcing on Thursday that a six-person team from Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough has joined its life sciences patent counseling and prosecution practice.

Partner Amy Baker Mandragouras and an all-woman team of patent lawyers and technical specialists are joining mainly in Cooley's Boston office, a move that also builds on the Palo Alto-based firm's growth on the East Coast.

She previously served as the managing partner of Columbia, South Carolina-based Nelson Mullins' Boston office, according to Cooley and her LinkedIn page.

The team will be based in Boston except for IP lawyer Maya Elbert, who joins as of counsel in New York, according to Mandragouras. Cooley has 17 offices throughout the U.S., Asia and Europe.

The firm - which said it represents over 1,400 public and private life sciences companies globally - has been growing its life sciences and healthcare capabilities across a variety of practice groups.

Last month, the 1,200-lawyer firm brought on two new partners to its healthcare regulatory and business litigation practices, hiring healthcare fraud and compliance partner Gina Cavalier from King & Spalding and Sonia Nath from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration just a few weeks apart. The firm also added former Bristol-Myers Squibb Co assistant general counsel for business development Christophe Beauduin as special counsel at the end of March.

Cooley's East Coast offices have seen several notable additions, including to its financial services regulatory practice in Washington, D.C., with lawyers from Morrison & Foerster, and to its cybersecurity, data and privacy team with a former Facebook Inc lawyer in New York.

Mandragouras was a leader of the life sciences patent practice at Nelson Mullins, according to Cooley. Her team helps clients create and implement IP strategies and build patent portfolios. She has 30 years of experience doing such work for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, the firm said, and her clients range from startups to large companies.

Mandragouras spent nearly two decades at Boston-based IP boutique Lahive & Cockfield, where she was the firm's first woman chair. She led negotiations in Lahive & Cockfield's 2010 merger with Nelson Mullins, according to Cooley.

"We wish Amy well and we thank her for all her contributions to our work over the years," Mark Dukes, chair of the IP department at Nelson Mullins, said in an statement.

Mandragouras, who previously chaired Nelson Mullins' diversity, equity and inclusion committee in Boston, cited Cooley's commitment to diversity as one of the things that drew her to the firm. She said she has worked throughout her career on proactive hiring and training of women. Only 20% of registered patent attorneys are women, so there is still more work to do, she said.

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